Airfreight rates end the year on a high

Airfreight rates ended the year on a high, but indications are that pricing slowed towards the end of the year in line with the Christmas slowdown.

The latest airfreight rates from TAC Index show that rates on services from Hong Kong to North America and Hong Kong to Europe increased in December.

On services from Hong Kong to North America in December, prices increased by 40.5% year on year to reach $4.93 per kg. Prices were also up on November when carriers were able to achieve $4.83 per kg.

On Hong Kong to Europe, prices in December increased by 11.9% compared with last year to $3.11 per kg and were also up on the $2.99 per kg achieved in November.

This is the highest rates have been on both the trade lanes since TAC Index records began in January 2015.

Click on chart for interactive version

The price increases are a reflection of demand growth during the month. Freight forwarder Freightos added that flights were also cancelled by US airlines, AirBridgeCargo and China Southern as weather conditions took their toll on servcies.

While rates ended the year on a high, there were some signs of a softening in prices as December progressed.

However, a decline in prices in January compared with December is not unusual and is a reflection of a slowdown in demand after the Christmas period.

Traditionally, rates on the trades have continued to slow in February before starting to stabilise and pick up in the March/April period.

While rates on services from Asia Pacific ended the year on a high and have now started their traditional post Christmas slowdown, Frankfurt-North America is moving in the opposite direction.

The latest figures from TAC Index show that prices on the lane in December fell 4.5% year on year to $2.94 per kg.

This is, however, an improvement on the $2.71 per kg that carriers were able to achieve in November and early indications suggest that rates on the trade are bucking normal seasonal trends and continued to improve at the end of December.

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